President Muhammadu Buhari has honoured seven Nigerian start-ups that won at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and World Summit on Information Technology Society (WSITS) championships/awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
They were presented awards of recognition and commendations on Wednesday in Abuja.
Buhari said the champions had made the country proud at the global stage, noting that Nigeria can produce the likes of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates in the near future.
Prof. Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, presented the awards on behalf of the president.
The honours comprised awards of recognition, commendation and cash prizes.
Pantami said the Federal Government was proud of the global award winners in various categories in ICT and Digital Innovation sector, especially those who bagged the awards at a time he (Pantami) Chairs the global body.
For those who won the 2022 awards, Pantami explained that 996 applications were submitted online with 360 selected for votes, while 1.3 million people voted across the world in 193 member countries for the winners to emerge.
Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Galaxy Backbone Limited to pick the solutions that won the awards with a view to support them to become global brands.
According to him, Buhari is presently looking at the Start-ups Bill which will be a major achievement of the administration as it contain provisions that would transform the industry in terms of benefits, incentives, loans and grants.
“The Start-ups Bill when passed into law will become the major achievement of the digital transformation era of President Buhari because there are provisions in the Bill that will change the narratives of the sector.
“There will be a Council on Start-ups and Mr President as the Chairman.
“The Private sector will collaborate with government to address challenges and proffer solutions to make Nigeria produce her own Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg,” Pantami said.
The champions are Chipsbrain Nigeria, 2020, Category Seven for an e-health start-up by Mr Oluwaseyi Akinola; Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, 2020, Category three for access to information and knowledge, by Maryam Abdulsalam; and Afrilingo, an ICT start-up for Indigenous Language and e-empowerment in 2020 by Franca Igwe.
Others were Association of Women in Technology in Nigeria, Category seven, 2022, ICT applications e-empowerment by Martha Alade, and Special Needs Initiative for Growth (Africa), Career development initiative for mothers with cerebral palsy children in Nigeria, 2021, Category six, enabling environment by Rachel Inegbedion.
The last two categories were Top up and Get Reward Limited, Teleconomy, 2021, Category two; ICT infrastructure by Mr Samuel Babatunde and Green fresh Nigeria; Wizwish International farm, Category seven, e-business by Mr Wisdom Ikpechukwu.
Responding on behalf of the winners, Martha Alade, commended the present administration for its passion and commitment to the growth and development of the digital economy, adding that Start-up owners were inspired and overwhelmed by government’s dedication. (NAN)
AU, ALPA Target 3000 Beneficiaries for Hepatitis Treatment in Nasarawa
The African Union, Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (AU-STRC), African Scientific Research and Innovation Council (AU-ASRIC) have partnered with African Liver Patient Association (ALPA) to offer free hepatitis treatment to Nasarawa State indigenes.
The Senior Scientific Officer of AU-STRC, Dr Mohammed Kyari, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Model Comprehensive Health Centre, Shabu, Lafia.
Kyari said that the project targeted a total of 3000 persons to benefit from the free hepatitis care, tests and treatment in Shabu, Lafia.
He said the project followed a sensitization and education of communities at all levels including testing which was targeted at the age group 12-80 years old.
Kyari added that the project was a build up from the research conducted by the AU- STRC and ASRIC from 2018 to date with a priority area on “prevention and control of diseases”.
“ The hepatitis testing using the serological rapid diagnostic tests with results in 15 minutes and treatment will commence immediately for positive cases,” he said.
According to him, vaccination will be administered on those that are negative, then further testing will be administered on those tested positive through a viral load confirmation.
Kyari also said that the treatment would focus more on the elimination of mother to child transmission and timely administration of birth dose vaccines for newborns and also by raising awareness.
He added that the project was a pilot phase on the implementation of the ASRIC Flagship Project on Village free of Hepatitis in Nasarawa State, which will hold from the 6th -20th December, 2023.
“ The project is also in line with the implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) pillar on building technical and professional competencies.” Kyari said.
NAN monitored events at the Model comprehensive health centre, Shabu, which is the location of the hepatitis free village in Lafia, Nasarawa State and the theme is “ Hepatitis Free Village”..
NAN also reports that there are a total of seven Egyptian doctors on site attending to the residents of Shabu community and about 2500 persons have since benefited from free treatment by receiving free drugs and vaccination.
Among the medical personnel from the Egyptian Liver Research Institute and Hospital (ELRIAH) working on hepatitis eradication in Lafia are Dr. Ahmed Salem, Dr. Ayman Abdelfattah and Prof. Ahmed Farahat (NAN)
Zoho, Tech Company Record 50 Per cent Growth in Nigeria,
A global technology company Zoho Corporation, on Friday announced its 50 per cent growth in Nigeria in 2022.
Regional Director, Middle East Africa, (MEA) Zoho Corporation, Ali Shabdar said at the sideline of Zoholics Nigeria in Lagos that the growth was due to high adoption of cloud technology in the country.
Reports says that Zoholics is the annual users conference of Zoho.
Shabdar said that Zoho’s growth was a direct result of Nigerian businesses embracing cloud technology, especially unified platforms, to digitally transform and build resilience to adapt to challenging market conditions.
According to him, such growth creates an economic impact in the nation’s economy as well as job creation.
The regional director said as such, it has partnered with StartupSouth to work towards the development of startups in the South South and the South East region.
He said that the partnership was to empower startups with basic digital tools and unified platforms to help businesses scale rather than giving free money.
Shabdar said that Zoho Contracts would help businesses improve compliance with National Data Protection Law (NDPL)
He said that NDPL which came into law in June mandated all businesses to ensure that their contracts include provisions for data security and breach notifications among others.
According to him, in case of non-compliance, businesses risk the loss of consumer trust and potential legal action, apart from a potential fine of up to N10 million or two per cent of annual gross revenue.
He said with Zoho Contracts, businesses could create contract templates with new revised clauses for NDPA compliance.
‘’Through the partnership, Zoho will be providing its contract management solution, Zoho Contracts, free for three months to help businesses improve compliance to the Nigeria Data Protection Law.
‘’Zoho’s unified technology stack, built from the ground up, allows us to meet such transformation needs of businesses with robust solutions that deliver consistently seamless user experiences at unbeatable value,” Shabdar said
The Regional Director, said that Zoho’s growth in Nigeria was primarily driven by adoption of Zoho One, the operating system for business, and Zoho Workplace, a unified enterprise collaboration platform.
He said that Zoho also grew its partner network by 22 per cent and more than doubled its employee in 2022 in Nigeria to reinforce its local presence and better serve the customers.
Country Head, Zoho Nigeria, Mr Kehinde Ogundare said that Nigeria was number five in the Middle East Africa in the growth of Zoho and had witnessed 87 per cent growth in five years.
Ogundare said that the transnational local strategy of being locally rooted while staying globally connected was also key to Zoho’s growth in Nigeria.
He said that Zoho was able to serve customers directly with locally hired teams in Lagos.
According to him, Zoho is also one of the few vendors in Nigeria that continues to provide their offerings in Naira, thereby protecting businesses from the fluctuating dollar rates.
Ogundare said that the step ensured that enterprise technology remained accessible to businesses of all sizes.
‘’Our partnership with #StartupSouth, and the special offer on Zoho Contracts, are further steps that underscore our commitment to serve the business community in the region,” he said.
Ogundare said that as part of its partnership with StartupSouth, new customers would be availed Zoho Wallet credits worth ₦ 470,000.
He said the wallet credit could be used to purchase or upgrade any of Zoho’s 55+ products, including Zoho One, the operating system for business, over a period of 360 days.
According to him, e startups will also receive training to help them leverage Zoho’s products for their growth and in a way that they can easily scale.
The Convener, StartupSouth, Uche Aniche, said that one of #StartupSouth’s goals was to provide startups associated with it an easy access to comprehensive technology solutions.
Aniche said that technology solutions that offered great value was easy to use and had the capability to grow with the businesses as they scaled.
‘’With this partnership with Zoho, we are looking forward to helping budding businesses by removing access barrier to enterprise technology.
“Through the Zoho for Startups programme, StartupSouth ntend to onboard as many startups and be a part of their entrepreneurial journey right from the start.
‘’Keeping in mind Zoho’s vision and mission on ‘serving the underserved’, we carefully choose whom we collaborate with.
Global Head, Zoho for Startups, Kuppulakshmi Krishnamoorthy said that Nigeria is one of the hotbeds in Africa for entrepreneurs to thrive and innovate. (NAN)
3 Million Jobs in Digital Tech Industry Achievable, DG NITDA says
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), says the creation of three million jobs in the digital technology sector was achievable within the next four years.
Inuwa stated this on the sidelines of a Public Sector Digital Innovation Summit on Friday in Abuja, organised by Datamellon in partnership with AWS (Amazon Web Services).
He was represented by Bernard Ewah, the acting Director, e-Government Development and Regulation at NITDA.
Inuwa said that the agency was currently working with the public and the private sector to surpass the target before 2027.
He said through the initiative, the Federal Government will work with stakeholders to train three million technical talents.
The director general said job placement would be given priority, and the level of digital literacy of the population would increase by 70 per cent by the end of 2027.
“If you look at the share size of our population that translates to potential producers of talents.
“Our talents have proven to be very productive in the country and are also recognised everywhere in the world.
“These can be seen in the number of innovations that have come out of Nigeria.
“The sheer size of demand for talents globally means that Nigeria is been modest in our projection, but we have to start somewhere and then scale up,” he said.
He said that NITDA has always played a role in creating the right path towards developing talents for Nigeria.
Inuwa said the agency would continue to lend its support and work in collaboration with its partners, on behalf of the Federal government and the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy.
“NITDA is working with an ecosystem of partners to ensure that the right sets of policies and actions are taken to democratise the space.
“Our goal is to make it easier for not only government organisations to have Web presence but also for citizens to access services seamlessly.
“What we are experiencing today with the public sector innovation summit is a manifestation of NITDA’s age-long philosophy of engagement with a broad spectrum of stakeholders,” he said.
He said that government cannot do it alone, adding that all the relevant stakeholders must come together to ensure the success of the sector.
“For instance, even in our key mandate of developing policies, we no longer sit in our offices to develop policies.
“We engage and co-create policies that is the only way that we can create policies that can be useful and highly impactful to stakeholders.
“So, policy making for us is not the perogative of NITDA alone. It involves the poor person on the street and that’s why this engagement is considered useful and important to us,” he said.
Also speaking, CEO of Datamellon, Mr Wale Adedeji, said the summit was an event set to revolutionise the public sector technology in the country.
Adedeji said that the company is a digital firm dedicated to revolutionising the landscape of digital sector innovation.
“Our mission is to empower government and organisations with cutting-edge technology, enabling them to serve their citizens better, faster and smarter.
“In the digital age, data is the new currency and the overall goal of AWS is all about cost reduction and making sure that you get real value for whatever the services provided,” he said.
He said the objective of the summit, amongst others was to unlock the Power of AWS and explore how it is reshaping government agencies’ operations with cutting-edge cloud solutions.
Adedeji said the participants had an opportunity of networking with experts and connect with industry professionals, government leaders, and AWS experts for valuable insights and collaborations,” he said.(NAN)
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